John Fries was a local vendue cryer or auctioneer. He was noted for his intelligence and humor. Like his Pennsylvania German neighbors, he was greatly angered by the new national taxes set on houses in 1798-1799. They warned the assessors to cease taking the rates of any more houses, or they would be hurt. Ignoring all of the threats, the assessors continued their work. But, when confronted by the local militia, they decided they could not complete their duties without bloodshed.  


Marker of John Fries Historic House, Located on Allentown Rd.


John Fries' Historic House


Fries' Stonework


A U.S. marshal ordered the arrest of several leaders of the tax rebellion. The people in Bucks County decided to rescue the prisoners, with John Fries as their captain. Fries enlisted 140 armed men. He succeeded in rescuing the prisoners held in Bethlehem,PA.

The federal government sent troops to arrest the leaders of Fries' Rebellion and ordered them to be taken to trial as traitors. Fries had tried running from them, but was later captured. He was tried and found guilty of treason. He was given another trial and again was found guilty. Fries was sentenced to death. But, luckily he was saved when President Adams granted all those who had participated in the rebellion a presidential pardon.

John Fries returned to his hometown, continued his quiet life as a vendue cryer, and died as poor man in February,1818.